A Perfect Pairing: Giordanos, ’04 Brunello and a Big Green Egg
I grew up not far from the great city of Chicago, and from a young age was raised on the Cubs, Bulls, Bears, and Blackhawks, along with the real pizza pies that the city has to offer. There’s just nothing like a huge, heavy, cheese and sauce filled, lasagne-like invention like the deep dish pizza from Chicago.
Celebrating a recent birthday 600 miles away, I had a craving for great wine and great food. So we stitched together the perfect pairing: Chicago’s Giordano’s pizza and 2004 Il Poggione Brunello that had been in my cellar for a few years.
The pizzas arrived the day before we planned to celebrate via dry ice in a huge box stuffed with two styrofoam coolers. We ordered a four pack – 2 Pepperoni, 1 Sausage and 1 cheese, and moved them immediately to the freezer.
The instructions called for the pizzas to remain frozen until it was time to prepare, then 6 minutes in the microwave, followed by 30-40 minutes in the oven at 375 degree. Each pizza comes with a separate smaller sauce packet that you defrost in a bowl of warm water, and place on the pizza before it goes in the oven. I’m not quite sure what the point of the extra sauce was (because other Chicago pizzas I’ve had flown in have not included it), but I will always welcome more sauce. Plus when you open the packet you can take in the aromas of what’s to come.
We opted to cook our pizzas on the Big Green Egg, the greatest cooking device ever known to mankind. This would provide a true, wood fired pizza experience, and I was super curious how the pie would turn out on the Egg. I used the Egg platesetter (a must have option), turned upside down to use as a pizza stone. It worked perfectly, allowing us to cook one pizza at a time (I have a Large size Egg).
The first pizza came out as a dream, no leaks anywhere, cooked to perfection, bubbly in the center, crispy golden crust, and a little of that Egg smoky flavor baked in. (I used straight lump charcoal, no extra wood, as I didn’t want it to get overly smoky).
Next up, the wine. The cork was pulled and the wine was there, great mouthfeel, just a little tight from being bottled up for 12 years. We poured the wine in a decanter for about two hours. It would only improve.
For 12 years old, the Brunello had plenty of room to run longer, but it was at a very nice place; soft, gentle and elegant in the mouth, just showing the beauty of mouthfeel that aged wines can offer. Excellent red fruit, cherry flavor, with a touch of spice and herbs on the dry finish. With the Giordanos, particularly the Pepperoni, it was a perfect match. The touch of spice in the Pepperoni with the thick red sauce, just elevated both food and drink. The sausage was a close second, and the cheese, while probably the best cheese pizza I’ve had in years, wasn’t far behind.
So there you have it. Great Chicago pizza and aged Brunello, a perfect pair. And of course this was a special time to enjoy Chicago pizza with the Cubs World Series win, giving us just one more thing to toast.
Have you enjoyed Giordano’s or any other Chicago pizzas? What do you pair them with? What about other food and wine pairings for the Green Egg? Let us know in the comments below.